Ukrainian pastor Elisey Pronin has been a constant source of hope for Ukrainians ever since Russia invaded the eastern part of their country in 2014. According to CT Insider, Pronin has always provided a place of refuge through his congregation helping those who needed food or rehabilitation services, and now his church is boarding and providing for refugees along with aiding the injured. Located in Lviv, Pronin’s church is working across the ocean with Pastor Zack Furches of Clinton Bible Fellowship in Connecticut who is spreading his messages and garnering financial support to send to Pronin as he tries to maintain his ability to provide humanitarian aid.
According to CT Insider, Pronin’s church in Lviv was recently “shaken by back-to-back airstrikes” which they survived, though Pronin shared that the experience was frightening. Pronin told Furches that after their city was struck, there were numerous injured people in the streets which he took into his church for treatment. Serving as a shelter, Pronin’s church has turned Sunday school rooms and former youth rooms into bedrooms where they accept up to 80 people each night. Furches explained that Pronin will never ask for anything unless he is asked exactly what someone can do to help. In the aftermath of Russia’s recent invasion, Pronin is seeking items such as blankets, pillows, and mattresses along with food, soap, towels, and washcloths.
Handling crises is nothing new to Pronin who was forced to leave his original church located in Eastern Ukraine after “pro-Russian separatists, with help from the military, began targeting cities.” Although bombs were devastating his city and he was threatened to be killed with militants even burning down his church because he would not support the new government, Pronin continued to minister to those who were unwilling or unable to flee, according to Brian Kaylor and Beau Underwood in Word & Way. Eventually, Pronin left Eastern Ukraine with his wife and two children, fleeing to Lviv where he established a new church made up mostly of those who fled the same conflict.
Though Pronin’s church in Lviv is humble, being that the old building has posed great challenges and needs much work, the congregation is “happy” and “content.” Furches, who visited the church in 2020, relates the congregants’ positive spirit to the “love and compassion” that fills the walls of their church, along with the good works of their community. Noting that “Elisey is helping people that have lost everything,” and “giving hope to people that seemingly have no hope,” Furches has expressed gratitude to his congregation for their support of Pronin that is helping him be able to continue to meet the needs of displaced Ukrainians.